When I meet with a Scout to discuss a potential Eagle Scout Service Project for the first time, I usually say, “No one expects that you know how to do this.” It would be a most unusual adolescent boy who knew how conceive of an Eagle Project, write up a plan to the last detail, recruit all his volunteers, raise the necessary funds, implement the project and write up a final report without assistance.
The Boy Scouts of America has officially recognized the position of Eagle Scout Coach, and within the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project workbook there is space to record the name of your coach, as well as for him to make comments. Scouts, I highly recommend that you connect with an approved Eagle Coach before you start your project. In many troops, this is a role served by an Assistant Scoutmaster. There are also coaches that work on the District level.
“Coach” is the perfect description of the job. Like a football coach, he can provide wisdom and help you with your game plan, but he cannot get out on the field on game day! You must do the work, but a good coach will make sure that you don’t get sidetracked and will help you keep focused on what has to be done. As an example, for the project report, you must report the hours that you and your volunteers spent on the project. At your first meeting, a good coach will get you started on a project log, or other recording mechanism, to make sure that you are tracking your hours accurately.
Start with your Scoutmaster, who probably has great familiarity with the process of rank advancement from Life to Eagle! If your troop does not have an Eagle Coach, you can contact either your District Advancement Chairman, or your Council office to locate an approved Eagle Coach. You want to be sure that your Eagle Coach has been officially approved for the position within your District, since your Eagle Service Project Workbook will contain both his name and his comments.
Since an Eagle Service Project often takes a year or more to complete for many boys, I highly recommend that you start the process immediately after achieving Life rank. If feasible, I also encourage Scouts to try to finish their project and achieve Eagle Scout Rank before entering the 11th grade. (That is a time in your life that will start to get very busy, with a lot of activities competing for your time.)
So your very first task for your Eagle Scout Service Project is to find yourself an Eagle Coach! It will save you much time and effort in the long run.